“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”Daniel 9.24
Daniel’s Prophecy of Seventy Weeks (Daniel 9v1-6, 20-27)
Daniel prays to God (v1-19)
(i) Daniel’s situation – when the prophecy was given (v1)
- First year of the reign of Darius the son of Ahasuerous, the Mede.
- Ruler over the realm of the Chaldeans
(ii) Daniel’s discovery (v2)
- Seventy years of desolations of Jerusalem – Jeremiah 25v11-14, 29v10-14
(iii) Daniel’s exercise – in prayer (v3)
- Prayer and supplication – fasting, sackcloth, ashes
(iv) Daniel’s address to God (v4)
- The sovereign Lord (Adonahy) – ‘O Lord’
- The great and terrible God (EI) – God as the Mighty One, the First Cause of All.
- Covenant keeping God- God’s faithfulness
- Merciful – to them that love Him and keep His commandments
(v) Daniel’s confession of national failure – twofold failure
- Departure (v5)
- Would not listen (v6)
God speaks to Daniel (v20-27)
(i) Daniel’s burden (v20)
- The people – my people Israel
- The place – the holy mountain of my God
(ii) Gabriel’s visit (v21)
- Interrupted Daniel’s prayer – ‘whiles I was speaking in prayer’
- Time of the evening oblation – Daniel still measured time in relation to temple service.
(iii) Gabriel’s explanation and instruction (v23)
- Sent from heaven to give Daniel skill and understanding
- Informed Daniel that he was greatly beloved by God
- Instruction to Daniel – understand and consider
The Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks (v24- 27)
(i) The period determined (v24)
- Seventy weeks- weeks of years = 490 years.
(ii) The scope of the prophecy (v24)
- Thy people – Israel,
- Thy holy city – Jerusalem
(iii) The purpose of the period (V24) – note ‘to’
- To finish transgression,
- To make an end of sins,
- To make atonement for iniquity,
- To bring in everlasting righteousness,
- To seal up the vision and prophecy,
- To anoint the most holy (or, the holy of holies)
(iv) The commencement of the prophecy (v25)
- from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem’ (Nehemiah 2v8) – Nissan 1 of Artaxerxes 20th year is March 5th, 444 BC.
(v) The progress of the prophecy (v25)
- Seven weeks (49 years) – perhaps the period of the restoring and rebuilding of Jerusalem.
- Sixty-two weeks (434 years) – covers the intertestamental period – covered in Daniel 11v1-35), up to the end of the public ministry of Christ.
- The street built and the wall in ‘troublous times’ (testimony to this is found in Nehemiah).
(vi) The death of Christ foretold (V26)
- When – after sixty-two weeks (49 + 434 years) – the sixty-nine weeks of concludes on Nissan 10 in AD 33 (March 30 of AD 33). This would make the date of the crucifixion Nissan 14 in AD 33 (Friday 3rd April, AD 33)
- What – Messiah cut-off – this is reference to the death of the Messiah.
- Why – not for Himself – his death was most certainly for others.
(vii) The destruction of Jerusalem (v26)
- The people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary (fulfilled in AD 70, under the Roman general Titus, the future Emperor).
(vii) The Seventieth week (v27)
- Covenant made for seven years between the ‘prince that shall come’ and ‘the many’
- Midst of the week (Revelation 12v6 1260 days, Revelation 13v5 forty-two months, Revelation 12v14 a time, and times and half a time)
- he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease
- for the overspreading he shall make it desolate – (2 Thessalonians 2v4, Revelation 13v14-17, Matthew 24v15)
- that determined shall be poured upon the desolator.
Details of Calculations
Between 444 BC and 33 AD are 476 solar years. This corresponds to 476 x 365.24219879 =173855.28 or 173855 days.
Working with one year in Daniel’s prophecy as a lunar year of 360 days, gives
360 x 69 x 7= 173880 days.
The discrepancy between the solar and lunar calculations is 25 days. Adding the 25 days to March 5th (of 444 BC) one comes to March 30th (of AD 33) which is Nissan 10 in AD 33. This is the date of entry of the Lord into Jerusalem (Luke 9v28-40)
Here are some useful books if you wish to take this study further,
The Coming Prince – Robert Anderson (Kregel)
Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ – Harold W Hoehner (Zondervan)
Against the Flow: The inspiration of Daniel in an age of relativism – John C Lennox (Monarch Books)